The cost of not having an Executive Assistant
Have you ever stopped to consider, what is the value of your time? Most people have heard the popular phrase, time is money. Where in fact, time is a far more valuable asset than that. Whereas money is an infinite resource, time is the fixed, intangible energy that drives and allows you to accomplish your goals. If you lose money, you may always look for a strategy to get it back or increase it. However, once you accomplish it, you won’t get back all that valuable time. While losing an hour or two a day may not sound like a substantial drawback at first, eventually these hours add up over time and have a noticeable impact on your productivity. This impact on time efficiency can hamper your ability to manage workload, miss crucial meetings, and fall behind deadlines.
Some executives underestimate or fail to realize how many hours they spend on tasks that are hindering their ability to focus. Executives have reported spending an average of 23 hours per week on activities that may be categorized as administrative or operational. These include attending meetings, responding to emails, and reading reports. For example, executives spend an average of 2.5 hours per day on emails alone. Some go as far as over checking it, wasting over an hour of weekly work that could be otherwise spent on strategic planning, research, or team management.
What is the cost of not having an EA?
Despite constantly feeling “busy”, more work does not equal more money. In fact, it’s setting you up for failure because it directly impacts your ability to succeed at your position. However, this gap in productivity can be solved by having the right assistance by your side. Executives can free up vital time to focus on other pending responsibilities, like strategizing, by having an executive assistant. EAs take away the bottlenecks that are costing you hours by optimizing your schedule for increased performance, cleaning your inbox, and being your first line of defense.
Here are some ways the lack of an EA is setting you back:
Lost focus time
Are you allocating enough time for deep work into your schedule? With a tight calendar and the time you’re spending on other tasks, having the energy to focus on doing deep work can be tricky. Lacking enough time to focus on deep work can result in not only reduced productivity, but a decrease in great creative work.
As an executive, it’s imperative to protect this time because it enables you to concentrate on the important activities that call for your specific skills and knowledge. You’re in charge of making important choices that have a big impact on the success of your organization. These decisions need serious thought, research, and planning, all of which call for enough time for focusing.
With an executive assistant’s aid, the time you were spending on administrative and operational tasks reduces to the point in which your schedule allows for more slots of productivity time. An EA also ensures that adding these time blocks of deep work to your schedule is a priority. Even if you had initially planned to do deep work during your week, priorities and distractions arise that shorten or scrap all together these time slots. An EA helps guarantee that your focus time will not be interrupted. Whether you focus better during early mornings or right after lunch, an EA fixes your schedule in a way that works well for your advantage.
When was the last time you organized your schedule to its maximum efficiency? More often than not, leaders are being controlled by their calendars instead of the other way around. With recurring appointments and last minute meetings, finding the bandwidth to sort out your schedule can be difficult, especially if you have more than one. Switching back and forth between personal, and work schedules can lead to confusion and missed opportunities. In addition, leaders don’t usually have a clear vision on where they’re spending their time.
Having an EA ensures your calendar is optimized for full efficiency. Executive assistants have a clear understanding of their executive’s agenda and time allocation. They make sure leaders spend time more effectively and avoid missing important deadlines or meetings by compartmentalizing their calendars. EAs also understand how their executive works best, what hours are optimal for meetings, when they should focus on deep work, and so on. By performing an effective calendar compartmentalization exercise, an executive assistant ensures that your time is focused on maximizing productivity. Ask us how!
Increased context switching
Despite the popularity of multitasking, not all activities are meant to be performed by switching back and forth. Interrupting deep work, such as working on hiring plans or annual objectives are not meant to be cut off suddenly. However, as an executive, your attention is pulled in different directions constantly. Whether it’s by responding to pending emails or chat notifications from your team, the constant code switching is counterproductive. It not only shortens or delays your hours for deep work, but the constant interruptions can also lead to fatigue or frustrations with your team.
The benefit of having an executive assistant is that your time is protected from a large part of those notifications because you have the peace of mind that your EA is taking care of it. An executive assistant limits these interruptions so your time to check emails or respond to chat notifications. is set and not scattered throughout the day.
Making strong, quick, and well-informed decisions is a crucial part of an executive’s day to day but when swamped with administrative and operational tasks, executives can struggle with decision-making. While some decisions can be made with gut and instinct, some require time for research, data collection, and technology. Carrying out all of these logistics can be a time-consuming process that delays your ability to reach to a decision faster, and could potentially lead to a sort of decision fatigue. Hasty and unfounded decisions may lead to costly mistakes in both time and money, further impacting your performance as a leader.
Having an executive assistant to aid in compiling data can increase your ability to make sharp decisions swiftly. Not only do EAs take administrative and operational tasks off your table, but they can also support you in research. An EA can assist you in market research, analyzing data, and collecting information from experts. Additionally, EAs can summarize this information into actionable points that make it easier for you to reach an informed decision.
In addition to missing out on adding essential people to your network, you could also be neglecting relationships. When tasks pile up, one of the first things leaders sacrifice is the time they spend with their loved ones. The same goes for spending time with your team. Insufficient time with your team can lead to a lack of connection, which can domino into misunderstandings, lack of engagement, and a performance plateau. As a leader, prioritizing the time you spend with your team can ensure they’re getting enough guidance and feedback.
By enough time we don’t mean micromanaging every aspect of their projects, but rather getting to know your team’s strengths and limitations. Listening to your team member’s struggles or bottlenecks at work can help you come up with solutions that can improve their performance and productivity.
When you have an executive assistant to help you prioritize this time into your schedule, you’ll be able to become a more present leader. Aside from reprioritizing time, executive assistants can streamline communication between executives and stakeholders. They can aid in arranging meetings, reminding participants, and facilitating dialogue to strengthen professional relationships that are needed for the overall success of an organization.
The cost of not having an executive assistant comes down to the loss of your most valuable asset: your time.
While some executives try to justify lost time by emphasizing their busy schedules, executives who value their productivity and efficiency understand that their time is their most valuable asset. Are you willing to sacrifice your time for deep work, and most importantly, your relationships? Every day without an EA, affects your ability to perform well as an executive. With the help of an executive assistant, leaders can free up their time so they can focus on strategic planning and improving the overall performance of their organization. If you’re thinking about hiring an executive assistant but you’re unsure on where to start, check out our article on whether you should hire a remote executive assistant or an in-house EA.